From Canal to Houston, the lower Bowery heats up
- Last Updated: 7:34 AM, April 12, 2012
- Posted: 10:06 PM, April 11, 2012
Not too long ago, Luke Armstrong noticed something new on the corner of the Bowery and Prince Street.
“I saw a Freitag shop,” says Armstrong, who has been living at Avalon Bowery, the massive rental complex on the Bowery just off Houston Street, for the past year. Freitag sells “these very interesting bags — but it surprised me, because they’re quite high-end, $300 bags.”
Though the Bowery has been no stranger to luxe development over the past several years — restaurateurs such as Daniel Boulud set up shop, CBGB gave way to John Varvatos and some apartments on the Bowery (at the old Bouwerie Lane Theatre) were priced at more than $2,500 per square foot — it’s mostly been confined to north of Houston Street.
South of Houston tended toward the Bowery of yore. Not that there were criminals and vagabonds lurking, exactly, but real estate got decidedly frumpier in the land of kitchen-supply and lighting-fixture stores.
Now, though, the high-end market is heading south.
Aside from pricey stores like Freitag, which opened last spring, as well as amenities like the New Museum and a Whole Foods, condos, hotels and restaurants have started making their appearance much more forcefully. And more are on their way — tying the north part of the Bowery to the south.
Take, for instance, 250 Bowery, between Houston and Prince. Twenty-four hours after the teaser Web site for the new condo building went live, it crashed — there was too much traffic.
The phones for the building’s brokers, John Gomes and Fredrik Eklund of Prudential Douglas Elliman, began ringing with eager buyers.
“I cannot tell you how many people have been soliciting the security guard” for details about the building, Gomes says.
“There’s been a huge waiting list,” says developer Zach Vella, whose VE Equities is responsible for 250 Bowery.
The building won’t be topped off for another month and a half. And even though prices haven’t been fixed yet (the Web site says prices should be between $700,000 and $2.7 million, but both Vella and Gomes insist that nothing is set until their offering plan is approved by the attorney general’s office), some have already declared their intention to buy.
“I’m very interested in purchasing in 250 Bowery,” says Oren Alexander, himself a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman. “It matches my lifestyle very well.”
According to Vella, the building will consist of 20 one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as four penthouse duplexes consisting of three or four bedrooms each.
The appeal is not necessarily the Bowery itself, but “it’s more about the popularity of the bordering neighborhoods — Nolita, the East Village, the Lower East Side and Chinatown,” Alexander says.